The Returned (4 stars)

The Returned

French horror TV series takes the genre to a whole new level

Screen zombies have come a long way from the arms-outstretched, murderously drooling, knuckleheaded empty vessels of yore. Even running zombies seem a little old hat now. If you’re going to bring people back from the dead, do it the French way à la The Returned, and just make them normal, regular people with feelings and emotions who just so happen to have wandered back into their loved ones lives with little explanation and a whole heap of confusion.

Whether this eight-part existentialist drama will even attempt to tie up any of its loose ends is unclear, but given the elegant pacing and unsettling atmosphere pervading the whole affair, convenient closure seems most unlikely. The stunning opening couple of episodes feature an identical twin believed dead in a horrific bus crash who returns to freak out her now grown-up sister, while a man who disappears presumed dead on his wedding day is back on the scene to the distress of his former bride-to-be, now living with the sensitive chief of police.

Meanwhile, a young boy who doesn’t know how downright spooky he’s being has attached himself to a lonely young nurse with heavy scarring on her tummy. And just to add to the bewildering tension, a serial killer appears to have risen from the grave his brother put him in a few years prior to continue his murderous ways. All of which is cloaked in a brooding soundtrack from our very own Mogwai. The Scandics may have thought they had the last word in moody, introspective, highly addictive dramas, but turns out the French have delivered a genuine coup de grâce.

Channel 4, Sun, 9pm

The Returned | Starts Sunday | Channel 4